International Law

Back to the Course Home Page


The Entry for "Nuclear"

from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Check out the Usage Note at the very end of the entry!


Main Entry: nu…cle…ar
Pronunciation: 'n¸-klE-&r, 'ny¸-, —-ky&-l&r
Function: adjective
Date: 1846


1 : of, relating to, or constituting a nucleus


2 a : of or relating to the atomic nucleus <nuclear reaction> <nuclear physics>

b : used in or produced by a nuclear reaction (as fission) <nuclear fuel> <nuclear waste> <nuclear energy>

c (1) : being a weapon whose destructive power derives from an uncontrolled nuclear reaction (2) : of, produced by, or involving nuclear weapons <the nuclear age> <nuclear war> (3) : armed with nuclear weapons <nuclear powers>

d : of, relating to, or powered by nuclear energy <a nuclear submarine> <the nuclear debate> <a nuclear plant>


USAGE:  Though disapproved of by many, pronunciations ending in \-ky&-l&r\ have been found in widespread use among educated speakers including scientists, lawyers, professors, congressmen, U.S. cabinet members, and at least one U.S. president and one vice president. While most common in the U.S., these pronunciations have also been heard from British and Canadian speakers.


Back to the Course Home Page

For corrections, comments, and questions, please e-mail John Setear.

This page was last updated on 02/07/99.